Kevin Cory -- sushi master, soft spoken chef, and seafood overlord -- is the man behind Naoe, an omakase-style Japanese restaurant in Brickell Key where dinners start at $160 and most of the menu is chef's choice. Sounds amazing, right? Wouldn't you just love to go tonight? Well, you can't. Cory is booked for days. Sometimes weeks.
Folks fly to Miami to eat at Naoe. The teeny spot, which only has eight seats available per service, is one of 28 restaurants in the world awarded five stars by Forbes Travel Guide. In the entire world.
Still, our recent Short Order editorial meeting ended in quite the debate. Some think Kevin Cory to be the indisputable número uno Tastemaker. There was hollering. There were tears. And then! An arm wrestling match settled the brawl.
Forgive us, Kevin Cory. Our flimsy arms lost you the crown. To all of us, though, you are definitely one of the top Tastemakers in town.
The most influential person in my career has been:
My chef uncle, Yasushi Naoe. I think about him every moment in the kitchen. His technique, knowledge and work ethic is inspiring. He's a hardcore Olympic Gold chef athlete, if there ever could be. I've never seen anyone like him.
When I'm alone and in need of comfort (and no one is there to watch or judge) the one food or drink I turn to is:
My assistant chef, Alisher Yallaev is from Uzbekistan. We like to introduce him to new things here. After work, I brought him to Krispy Kreme when the red HOT NOW light was on. We've shamelessly kept a supply in the back ever since.
What does Miami need more of?
Small seafood shops supporting Miami fishermen and late, late night healthy food restaurants.
You get to vote one food or beverage trend off the island forever -- what is it?
Pairing grape wine with everything. I like wine. I like delicate Japanese food. I just don't think they should sit on the same beach blanket together. I prefer a match with soft sake or Japanese beer. Sake has 1/3 the acidity of grape wine and no preservatives like sulfites.
You have unlimited funds to open a restaurant or bar -- what's the name and what do you serve?
Yellow Submarine, an actual submarine deploying guests to spearfish for our sushi dinner.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Working on a new menu for my baby's kindergarten lunch bento.
Dream dinner party for six: Who (living or dead) are you inviting?
Miami's Restaurant Power Rankings' Ryan Roman gets eaten by four sharks off the Yellow Submarine. Frodnesor will tell the tale.
New Times' Best of Miami 2013 issue arrives June 13. To celebrate, Short Order is serving up the top 30 tastemakers in the 305. These people have helped shape the Miami food scene into what it is today. We began with number 30 and will lead up to the county's number one. A Q&A session is included in each post.
Follow Emily on Twitter @EmilyCodik.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.